A flasher at the grocery store and a desert slideshow

Saturday, February 23

Spike and I take advantage of an extraordinarily balmy day to follow a trail leading away from our campsite.  Bridget is in one of her moods and elects to stay home.

Climbing up, over, and around the massive hunks of conglomerate rocks among organ pipes, saguaros, palo verde, ironwood, creosote and ocotillo, I discover that our back yard is, perhaps, the loveliest section of the desert near Darby Well Road.  You’ll see what I mean when you look at the slideshow at the end of this post.  No skipping ahead.  You’ve got to read all this stuff first.

Later the three of us go into town for a few groceries and drinking water.

I also want to buy another hummingbird feeder, one with perches on it for the gila woodpeckers.  Maybe with two feeders, the hummers will have a chance to sip some sugar water.

It’s about three o’clock and the Saturday sellers are packing up.

I’ve noticed that it’s customary on Saturdays for people to set up tables at various points along the main drag, sometimes alongside their RV, to display merchandise for sale.  I haven’t investigated these business ventures.  From driving by it looks like what you’d expect at a flea market — used items, crafts, t-shirts, jewelry and such.

I find a pretty hummingbird feeder at True Value.

Olsen’s Grocery is humming with Saturday customers.

There’s something about this little market that I like.  Here is where people mingle, brown and white, resident and RVer.  With no line of demarcation between the cash registers and the produce section, customers sit at tables and scarf down Mexican-deli delights.

The meat and bakery departments excel many I’ve seen in large supermarkets. I cruise past great slabs of ribs, quality chops and steaks, including what I suspect is goat, along with large, deep bins of salsa and other concoctions that are a mystery to me.

Push your cart past the milk cooler and you run smack-dab into Ace Hardware.

One minute you’re checking the expiration dates on cottage cheese, the next you’re up to your eyeballs in plumbing fittings, paint cans, and socket wrenches, immediately followed by Lean Cuisine and Blue Bonnet ice cream.  Oh, boy, gotta love it.  There’s no place quite like Ajo’s grocery store.

The pricing system is a mystery. 

One day eggs are outrageously high-priced.  What the heck are in the cartons, Faberge?  Come back three days later and eggs are 99 cents a dozen.  I’ve seen items go from around $6 to $2 and back up again in the span of a week.   It’s a quirky place, all right.

Happy banter prevails at check-out.

Interesting characters in various modes of dress smile and chat with each other and the cashiers..  Hmm . . . Is it me or do these cashiers have more personality than the ones you see, say, at Wal-Mart or Target? 

As my cashier whips my items across the scanner, I’m transfixed by the flashing lights on her fingernails.  “What’s this?” I ask good-naturedly.  “You have fingernails that light up,” I remark, stating the obvious.

She stops, giggles, and holds out her hands, palms down, for me to examine. 

“Wow,” I respond, “Very sexy in the dark, huh?”

“Oh, I have other ones that are meant for the dark,” she offers matter-of-factly, raking more items across the glass panel with lights a-flashing.  

This sets my mind to wandering and wondering.  

Hmm, nails for the dark . . . Nails that heat up?  Nails that flash the colors of your mood?  Nails that make fireworks?  Nails that . . . .  I dare not ask.

She pulls me back to focus on the task at hand.  “You can scan your card now.”

The bagger-person fills my cart.

I shouldn’t have shopped hungry.  I over-bought.  I came here for food for the crew and sugar for the hummers, and here I am, pushing all these groceries out to the PTV.  Oh well, I enjoyed another Olsen’s Grocery Experience.

I move the PTV over to the water dispenser.

The containers filled, I drop some trash in the receptacles in the parking lot, and head for home.  On the way down Darby Well Road, I turn on the radio.  A lively melody, a strong male voice, manic horns, an accordian, sing-a-long lyrics.  Why is Mexican popular music so happy and our music is so . . . so . . .?

We pass a few campers tucked into campsites along the road.

A man turns away from the people near his RV, shades his eyes from the sun, steps forward, and squints at me and the PTV as we slowly pass.  I raise my hand with a nod and keep going.  I glance in the side mirror.  He watches the PTV until we round a bend.  Either he reads the blog and figured out I’m RVSue or he’s curious about the solar panel on top of the PTV.  Gee, I should’ve stopped. 

Okay, time for the slideshow.   Let’s see, we need a title . . .

“Them Sure Are Some Big Rocks”

This slideshow requires JavaScript.


P.S.  You thought I meant the trench coat kind of flasher, didn’t you!  Speaking of lights, I added a headlight to the Amazon “Shopping Links”.  The kind you wear on your head.


About rvsueandcrew

Fulltime nomad
This entry was posted in Simple living and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

60 Responses to A flasher at the grocery store and a desert slideshow

  1. cinandjules (NY) says:

    A trip to town or the laundry is always an adventure! So yes…I truly thought it was a “flasher”.

  2. Reine says:

    EVERYONE should have at least one headlamp whether you camp or not. They’re really useful for looking under sinks to figure out needs fixing since you have both hands free. The red night vision is great for star parties. I also use mine in our Casita when I need some additional “focused” light like when cross stitching at night. And if you’ve ever had to set up camp at night you’ll be glad you have one and can use both hands for whatever you’re doing.

  3. EmilyO from KS says:

    What mine(s) is(are) those in the background?

  4. Joe says:

    Hey rvsue this is Joe from Pinnacles campgound in dubois wy. I have missed some of your emails and was wondering how are you able to use your computer off the cell phone booster? we are looking at the wilson 3g 801245 so we can make phone calls from our campground. Hope you can get back up and see us again some day.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi Joe . . . from one of my favorite campgrounds!

      My cellphone is cheapo and won’t work at Pinnacles, so I’m no help.

      I use a Verizon “air card” – Mifi 4G LTE connected to a Wilson antenna.

      I hope the antenna (see header drop-down) will bring in a signal strong enough for internet the next time I’m camped at Pinnacles. I have to go back to Brooks Lake to see the latest in vault toilet decor and maybe a grizzly or two or three . . .

      Larry wanted me to contact him. I emailed him but no response.

      Regards to Debbie. Hope the recent blizzard wasn’t too rough on you Kansas folks.

  5. mockturtle says:

    I’m surprised the ocotillos aren’t in bloom yet, since you’ve had some rain. It won’t be long, I’m sure.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Only recently have the ocotillos sprouted leaves. I’m surprised there aren’t any flowers of any kind like last year. Maybe too much rain… The monsoons were fierce I’ve heard, and the evidence of that can be seen along the washes. Huge saguaros toppled and lots of large debris . . .

      • Connie & Mugsy says:

        Perhaps it is the colder than usual temperatures… whereas last year, it was warmer than usual.

  6. Robert says:

    Did anyone else see the rino hiding between the rocks ?

  7. Cari in Texas says:

    I figured that your title was a play on words of some sort, but I never guessed it would involve fingernails 🙂 Thanks for letting us share in your everyday adventures. There are a few stores like that in my area, one aisle is cheese, the next is dog food, the next is hardware. A small store’s answer to the big box store, I guess.

    I enjoyed your photos of your ‘back yard’ and surrounding area. Looks very peaceful.

  8. Mary says:

    Hi Sue! Please forgive me if you have covered this….the amazon link on your blog-Can I use that when I buy anything like ebooks or is it just for the suggestions that you make? Thanks! Mary

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      I get a commission on anything you buy, even if you start with one link and end up buying something different. Those pages with products are only suggestions for RVers and other readers of my blog. Any purchase from any of my links gives me credit. You can use the link for a patio mat and end up buying a pair of shoes and I get a commission.

      Thanks, Mary, for caring enough to ask.

  9. Reine says:

    I’m not RVSue but the Amazon link works for anything on Amazon as long as you get to Amazon using the RVSue’s link.

  10. Donna D. (stickhouse in CT) says:

    I’m relieved that it wasn’t a “real” flasher. I was concerned. lol I wonder how long the fingernails will continue to flash or how? I wonder what the power source would be. I’ll have to do some googling. That store sounds like my kind of place. It’s cool how you can make a trip to the grocery store sound like so much fun.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      I couldn’t tell from the quick glance. Her hands kept moving. I think they’re like those sticks people wave at concerts (if they still do that)… Glow sticks, only these were shiny and sparkly “gemstones” on each fingernail.

  11. Joan Gagnon says:

    We are in Yuma and I ran across an idea for a birdfeeder that I have tried and works like a charm. The finches here love it. You take a grapefruit, cut it in half, eat the grapefruit ( of course ) Let the skins dry after you have scrapped as much of the grapefruit pulp you can out of it. I poked 3 small holes in the sides , just below the rim, and threaded ( of all things ) embroidery cotton through each hole, leaving the string about a foot long each and knotting it at the top. I have “S” hooks, but any branch will do to hang these from and I fill them with wild bird seed. If you’d like pictures email me at joaneyg@yahoo.com and I will send you pictures.

  12. PamP in SW Florida says:

    Haw, haw! You got me with this one – my imagination went several directions as I read this post!! Pam

  13. Joe Shryock says:

    I’ve been following you for a nice long time. Really enjoy your writing and pictures that you post. I’m just curious,when looking on Google Earth for Ajo, I can find Darby Wells Road and it goes quite away out of town. How far out are you? Can’t find any camp sights. I’m not a stalker and if you don’t want to answer, I understand. Enjoy your sight Sue…Joe Shryock. I iive in Phoenix, Ahwatukee Village next to the Gila River Indian Rez. My parents used to live at The Fountain of Youth Spa between Niland and Bombay Beach. I really liked it there and figured some day when I retired from my job as a UPS driver for 30 years, that’s where I would go. But, I retired in 2000, moved to Phoenix with my wife and enjoy living here and retirement . We’ve been married for 15 years now, she’s a retired marriage counselor and book writer. She wrote about 10 books, you can find her on Google, Dorothy Tegeler. Her books were about Phoenix, and Arizona, moving and retiring here. Also published a kids coloring book and a cook book on south west cooking. Can you tell I am pretty proud of her, keeps me in line. I was born in Hawthorne, CA and raised in San Bernardino, CA. Lived most of my life in the Bay Area in Concord and Antioch, delivering packages. Dorothy was raised in Southern Illinois in Effingham. Lived her whole life on a farm. I’m a Vietnam veteran, there in 1968. Came home in one piece and mentally fine, was a Military Policeman. Said way more than I thought I would, just didn’t want you to think I was a weird stalker or something. Thanks for everything, look forward to all your blogs…Joe Shryock1@cox.net (If you want to Google Earth me, 14604 So. 24th Place, PHX, AZ 85048

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hello Joe and Dorothy and welcome to my blog! And thank you, Joe, for your service to our country.

      The crew and I are camped near the first fork in the road. There are a lot of sites further in, but the cell signal is not as good or doesn’t exist at all.

      I’m glad you enjoy my blog. Thanks for the compliment and for sharing your story! Feel free to comment any time . . .

  14. Ed says:

    I tried to use your search box today and it would only take me to your most current posting. The same thing happened when I tried clicking on a Tag. Is this problem mine or yours?

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      I don’t think it’s your problem, Ed. I think it’s a setting on my blog. You may remember when my blog took a long time to open, and when it finally did, it would show several of the most recent blogs. I changed the setting so it would open up to only one blog which, I believe, helped speed up the opening..

      Unfortunately, now when you search or attempt to open an archive month, only one post shows up. I’ll go back and try again to work around this glitch. I apologize for the inconvenience.

      • Ed says:

        Since I am the first, and apparently only, person this is causing any problem it might not be worth fixing. However, it is sad that you now have spent all that time creating Tabs that don’t work, searches that don’t search and Archives that don’t archive.

        I found what I was looking for the old fashioned way – hard work. I just wanted to comment on how much difference a year makes, particularly a year on the road full timing. Is does change our perceptions, does it not?
        You said:
        January 29, 2012
        The final stop is Olsen’s IGA store. A regular can of Maxwell House Coffee . . . $6.19! Kraft’s Grated Parmesan Cheese . . . $5.49! I throw the stuff in my basket, and remind myself I pay no rent in a lame attempt to neutralize the pain. My grocery shopping experience is not fun. Loud music pierces the air.
        February 10, 2011
        And I’ll need groceries again soon. Buying groceries at small stores in small towns really increases my outlay for my food, for the crew’s food, and for daily-living sundries. I mull this over until I see a way I can cut down on my spending at mom-and-pop groceries with their high prices.

        • rvsueandcrew says:

          My words come back to haunt me . . .

          Ha! You’re right, Ed. I’ve become accustomed to high prices in out-of-the-way, small town groceries. It took a while to get over the shock. I still remind myself that I’m not paying any rent which enables me to buy what I want at the little grocery stores.

          Now the loud noise… I remember that day… The music was turned up high. I think maybe the manager was away and the young people will play?

          What tabs don’t work? Are you talking about the drop-down menus? Is anyone else having problems with tabs?

          When the archives open, look at the top where the arrow is to move you from page to page.

          WordPress isn’t perfect. It has a lot of positives as well as some things that are annoying. I hear complaints about Blogger, too…

          • Ed says:

            I misspoke, that should be Tags not Tabs. The tags that you add to your post at the end, for this page: This entry was posted in Simple living and tagged Ajo, Darby Well Road, desert, dispersed camping, hardware, headlight, hiking, hummingbird, RVing.
            Perhaps I don’t understand how they work but I thought they were like search aids, click on one of them and all your postings Tagged with that word would come up.

            • rvsueandcrew says:

              I changed the setting to 4. When the blog opens, the four recent posts come up. When you search with a key word, four posts appear. When you click on a tag, four posts on that topic appear.

              It’s either/or. What is more important? Quick openings to the latest post, or better results on tags and searches? It’s too bad we can’t have both.

              • Ed says:

                I would say that quick opening is more important however I never had any problem opening. I don’t think getting just 4 posts on a Search or Tag is much of an improvement. If I search I want to see ALL the postings that might have that search word in it, but that is just me.
                If I were you I would go back to quick opening, quit adding tags and remove the Search box. The Archive box works as you say but it is a personal issue with me that it is archived in inverse chronological order – my own personal quirk.
                Thanks for taking my complaint to heart and trying to do something about it!

            • rvsueandcrew says:

              Ed… I’ll keep the tags for other purposes. Sorry I can’t fix everything.

  15. Ron Sears says:

    I’ve got to quit reading your blog..I’m starting to like what I see out there…Well it might be that’s it’s colder than a well digger’s butt here and I am ready for some warm weather! Great shot’s as usual..be safe.

  16. RV AJ says:

    Thats one heck of an attention grabbing title! Love the slideshow.

  17. Bob G. says:

    I have a question about your mifi/antenna arrangement. What is the range of that signal? Some sources say 40 or 50 feet. What is your experience?

    If it reaches out that far, it seems to me it might have been better to mount the antenna on the van instead of the Casita. When you park beside the Casita or anywhere near it, you would still have wifi in the Casita. But you would also have it with you on your trips into town or other excursions.

    Did you have some good reason for putting in on the back of the trailer instead?

    Bob, who has been thinking of installing one on his truck.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      What is my experience with the range of my antenna? How would I know that? I don’t move it around and measure. I put the antenna up and it works! 🙂

      I can’t see where putting the antenna on the van would be an advantage. I use my laptop sitting at a table at the rear of the BLT. The antenna cable attaches to my Verizon MiFi card which rests on the same table and often is plugged into a small inverter as well to keep the charge up.

      I don’t care about internet connection in the PTV. I don’t like moving the air card around (BLT to PTV and back) because it stresses the little connector pin and, according to The Color Rule That All Technology Must Obey, it is BLACK and easily slides to be lost in the dark netherworld of the PTV console area.

      The antenna’s effectiveness is hindered by a position requiring the signal loop to operate over the roof of the BLT (don’t know if I’m stating this clearly). In other words, it’s best not to position the BLT so that the front points toward the cell tower. This has never been a problem.

      I position the PTV for best capture of morning sunlight for the tilted solar panel. To add antenna positioning would complicate, not ease, matters.

      And Mick, if you have anything to add or correct, please do.

      • Bob G says:

        I see. You stay in one place more than I do, and don’t want to reset the antenna every time you move the car. I can see that might get tiresome.

        I, on the other hand, like to have my internet access with me at all times. And I don’t use a yagi antenna that has to be adjusted for direction. Maybe one of those on the trailer and the omnidirectional one I already have on the truck would be best.

        I’m not sure what your “aircard” looks like. The mifi I’m looking at is about the size of a thick Iphone, and a little velcro would fix the “lost under the seat” syndrome. And it’s no more trouble to move from truck to trailer than is plugging in my Iphone. In fact I wouldn’t have to move it except when I needed the directional antenna.

        Another factor on my mind, that you don’t have to deal with, is my desire to drop my Verizon phone plan and make all my phone service work through Google Voice on the wifi. That would require an antenna on the truck, unless I want to live in 1952.

        Thanks. There is no right way to do this. Everybody adapts the technology to suit their lifestyle.

        • rvsueandcrew says:

          You’re right. To each his own. So you’re going to drill a hole in the roof of your vehicle to bring the coax cable inside?

          • Bob G says:

            Lol. That’s a thought,but more likely is that I’ll run it through the rubber around the back window. There’s also such a thing as flat coax, which you can close a door on.

            Besides, I’ve got a pickup. Holes look good on a pickup. Brings out the character.

  18. Rita from Phoenix says:

    I gather Bridget no longer has ‘separation anxiety’ any more since she didn’t want to go on a hike. She prob likes to curl up in bed while you and Spike go on your walks. Any time I travel with my dogs to a new place they’ve never been, they stay close. I think for desert plants it’s not warm enough yet for them to start blooming. My potted cactus sprouted some buds this week and my desert flowers bloomed all year….I have to see what they are but they look like yellow daisies. the freeze last month didn’t faze them. You had all of us going with your title ‘flasher at grocery…’ LOL. Have a great day.

    • Rita from Phoenix says:

      P/S is Rick still camped nearby? Just wondering.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi Rita!

      Bridget still howls as if in pain when I go into a store and leave her and Spike in the PTV. I think she’s become secure enough in the BLT that she can stay there without me.

      Rick is here. He’s a private person and people see him with his dog and figure out his name. Being recognized by strangers and having people drop in is annoying, which I fully understand. Therefore, I’m backing off and not mentioning him in my posts. At the time I included him in my posts, I did not realize my blog would become as popular as it has.

      (If this reply starts a rash of comments about him, I’ll delete.)

      I hope the warmth predicted for southern AZ will bring flowers. You have a great day, too!

  19. Bob Lowry says:

    I liked the grocery store and Ace Hardware store all cuddled up with another another, too. It makes shoppinjg like the old days in a general store. Plus the cafe in the groccery store is one of the few places in town to get something quick and good.

  20. The Good Luck Duck says:

    I am extremely fond of Ajo. It was the first place to make our “short list” after we started traveling.

    Is Olsen’s seconds store still in business? I liked going there, too. It’s like a yard sale – you never know what you’ll find.

  21. Sandi says:

    Sue, that ain’t right. I was looking for a really good ending here. OK, I still had a good chuckle.

  22. Jim Melvin says:

    You sure have a beautiful backyard Sue. Love the pics.

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